Synopses & Reviews
Following the civil rights movement, race relations in the United States entered a new era. Legal gains were interpreted by some as ensuring equal treatment for all and that "colorblind" policies and programs would be the best way forward. Since then, many voices have called for an end to affirmative action and other color-conscious policies and programs, and even for a retreat from public discussion of racism itself.
Bolstered by the election of Barack Obama, proponents of colorblindness argue that the obstacles faced by blacks and people of color in the United States can no longer be attributed to racism but instead result from economic forces. Thus, they contend, programs meant to uplift working-class and poor people are the best means for overcoming any racial inequalities that might still persist. In Colorblind, Tim Wise refutes these assertions and advocates that the best way forward is to become more, not less, conscious of race and its impact on equal opportunity.
Focusing on disparities in employment, housing, education and healthcare, Wise argues that racism is indeed still an acute problem in the United States today, and that colorblind policies actually worsen the problem of racial injustice. Colorblind presents a timely and provocative look at contemporary racism and offers fresh ideas on what can be done to achieve true social justice and economic equality.
"In his follow-up to Between Barack and a Hard Place, Wise continues to explore his provocative contention that Obama's commitment to transcending racism has made it 'more difficult than ever to address ongoing racial bias' in America. By refusing to openly confront racism, Wise argues, the President has ceded the ground to conservatives, allowing them to 'manipulate racial angers unmolested and unchecked.' While many progressives are disappointed that Obama has, in their view, capitulated to corporate interests and not forged his own New Deal, Wise makes the opposite charge. He believes that Obama is in fact too eager to follow FDR's lead in subordinating racial issues to the fight against poverty. Obama's endorsement of New Deal measures like social security, FHA home loan programs, and the G.I. Bill downplays the extent to which these programs were and continue to be 'intensely racialized.' Wise also contends that the pervasiveness of racism has a subconscious effect on Americans that can only be altered by forcing the issue into the open." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
In this powerful follow-up to Between Barack and a Hard Place, Tim Wise argues against colorblindness and for a deeper color-consciousness in both public and private practice. We can only begin to move toward authentic social and economic equity through what Wise calls illuminated individualism — acknowledging the diverse identities that have shaped our perceptions, and the role that race continues to play in the maintenance of disparities between whites and people of color in the United States today. This is the first book to discuss the pitfalls of colorblindness in the Obama era.
How "colorblindness" in policy and personal practice perpetuate racial inequity in the United States today.
Wise explores how "colorblindness" in policy and personal practice perpetuate racial inequity in the United States today.
About the Author
Tim Wise is one of the most prominent antiracist essayists, educators and activists in the United States. For twenty years he has challenged racial inequities as a community organizer, public speaker, workshop facilitator and writer. He has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people, contributed essays or chapters to more than twenty books, and has appeared regularly on radio and television as a guest commentator on race issues. He is the author of four previous books: White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son; Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White; Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections from an Angry White Male, and Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama.